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250 English Idioms

250 English Idioms

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250 English Idioms

Items (240)

  • A Bird In The Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush

    Having something that is certain is much better than taking a risk for more, because chances are you might lose everything.

  • A Blessing In Disguise

    Something good that isn't recognized at first.

  • A Chip On Your Shoulder

    Being upset for something that happened in the past.

  • A Dime A Dozen

    Anything that is common and easy to get.

  • A Doubting Thomas

    A skeptic who needs physical or personal evidence in order to believe something.

  • A Drop in the Bucket

    A very small part of something big or whole.

  • A Fool And His Money Are Easily Parted

    It's easy for a foolish person to lose his/her money.

  • A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand

    Everyone involved must unify and function together or it will not work out.

  • A Leopard Can't Change His Spots

    You cannot change who you are.

  • A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned

    By not spending money, you are saving money (little by little).

  • A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

    A visual presentation is far more descriptive than words.

  • A Piece of Cake

    A task that can be accomplished very easily.

  • A Slap on the Wrist

    A very mild punishment.

  • A Taste Of Your Own Medicine

    When you are mistreated the same way you mistreat others.

  • A Toss-Up

    A result that is still unclear and can go either way.

  • Actions Speak Louder Than Words

    It's better to actually do something than just talk about it.

  • Add Fuel To The Fire

    Whenever something is done to make a bad situation even worse than it is.

  • Against The Clock

    Rushed and short on time.

  • All Bark And No Bite

    When someone is threatening and/or aggressive but not willing to engage in a fight.

  • All Greek to me

    Meaningless and incomprehensible like someone who cannot read, speak, or understand any of the Greek language would be.

  • All In The Same Boat

    When everyone is facing the same challenges.

  • An Arm And A Leg

    Very expensive. A large amount of money.

  • An Axe To Grind

    To have a dispute with someone.

  • Apple of My Eye

    Someone who is cherished above all others.

  • As High As A Kite

    Anything that is high up in the sky.

  • At The Drop Of A Hat

    Willing to do something immediately.

  • Back Seat Driver

    People who criticize from the sidelines, much like someone giving unwanted advice from the back seat of a vehicle to the driver.

  • Back To Square One

    Having to start all over again.

  • Back To The Drawing Board

    When an attempt fails and it's time to start all over.

  • Baker's Dozen


  • Barking Up The Wrong Tree

    A mistake made in something you are trying to achieve.

  • Beat A Dead Horse

    To force an issue that has already ended.

  • Beating Around The Bush

    Avoiding the main topic. Not speaking directly about the issue.

  • Bend Over Backwards

    Do whatever it takes to help. Willing to do anything.

  • Between A Rock And A Hard Place

    Stuck between two very bad options.

  • Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

    To take on a task that is way to big.

  • Bite Your Tongue

    To avoid talking.

  • Blood Is Thicker Than Water

    The family bond is closer than anything else.

  • Blue Moon

    A rare event or occurance.

  • Break A Leg

    A superstitious way to say 'good luck' without saying 'good luck', but rather the opposite.

  • Buy A Lemon

    To purchase a vehicle that constantly gives problems or stops running after you drive it away.

  • Can't Cut The Mustard

    Someone who isn't adequate enough to compete or participate.

  • Cast Iron Stomach

    Someone who has no problems, complications or ill effects with eating anything or drinking anything.

  • Charley Horse

    Stiffness in the leg / A leg cramp.

  • Chew someone out

    Verbally scold someone.

  • Chip on his Shoulder

    Angry today about something that occured in the past.

  • Chow Down

    To eat.

  • Close but no Cigar

    To be very near and almost accomplish a goal, but fall short.

  • Cock and Bull Story

    An unbelievable tale.

  • Come Hell Or High Water

    Any difficult situation or obstacle.

  • Crack Someone Up

    To make someone laugh.

  • Cross Your Fingers

    To hope that something happens the way you want it to.

  • Cry Over Spilt Milk

    When you complain about a loss from the past.

  • Cry Wolf

    Intentionally raise a false alarm.

  • Cup Of Joe

    A cup of coffee.

  • Curiosity Killed The Cat

    Being Inquisitive can lead you into a dangerous situation.

  • Cut to the Chase

    Leave out all the unnecessary details and just get to the point.

  • Dark Horse

    One who was previously unknown and is now prominent.

  • Dead Ringer

    100% identical. A duplicate.

  • Devil's Advocate

    Someone who takes a position for the sake of argument without believing in that particular side of the arguement. It can also mean one who presents a counter argument for a position they do believe in, to another debater.

  • Dog Days of Summer

    The hottest days of the summer season.

  • Don't count your chickens before they hatch

    Don't rely on it until your sure of it.

  • Don't Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth

    When someone gives you a gift, don't be ungrateful.

  • Don't Put All Your Eggs In One Basket

    Do not put all your resources in one possibility.

  • Doozy

    Something outstanding.

  • Down To The Wire

    Something that ends at the last minute or last few seconds.

  • Drastic Times Call For Drastic Measures

    When you are extremely desperate you need to take extremely desperate actions.

  • Drink like a fish

    To drink very heavily.

  • Drive someone up the wall

    To irritate and/or annoy very much.

  • Dropping Like Flies

    A large number of people either falling ill or dying.

  • Dry Run


  • Eighty Six

    A certain item is no longer available. Or this idiom can also mean, to throw away.

  • Elvis has left the building

    The show has come to an end. It's all over.

  • Ethnic Cleansing

    Killing of a certain ethnic or religious group on a massive scale.

  • Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining

    Be optomistic, even difficult times will lead to better days.

  • Everything But The Kitchen Sink

    Almost everything and anything has been included.

  • Excuse my French

    Please forgive me for cussing.

  • Cock and Bull Story

    An unbelievable tale.

  • Feeding Frenzy

    An aggressive attack on someone by a group.

  • Field Day

    An enjoyable day or circumstance.

  • Finding Your Feet

    To become more comfortable in whatever you are doing.

  • Finger lickin' good

    A very tasty food or meal.

  • Fixed In Your Ways

    Not willing or wanting to change from your normal way of doing something.

  • Flash In The Pan

    Something that shows potential or looks promising in the beginning but fails to deliver anything in the end.

  • Flea Market

    A swap meet. A place where people gather to buy and sell inexpensive goods.

  • Flesh and Blood

    This idiom can mean living material of which people are made of, or it can refer to someone's family.

  • Flip The Bird

    To raise your middle finger at someone.

  • Foam at the Mouth

    To be enraged and show it.

  • Fools' Gold

    Iron pyrites, a worthless rock that resembles real gold.

  • French Kiss

    An open mouth kiss where tongues touch.

  • From Rags To Riches

    To go from being very poor to being very wealthy.

  • Fuddy-duddy

    An old-fashioned and foolish type of person.

  • Full Monty

    This idiom can mean either, "the whole thing" or "completely nude".

  • Funny Farm

    A mental institutional facility.

  • Get Down to Brass Tacks

    To become serious about something.

  • Get Over It

    To move beyond something that is bothering you.

  • Get Up On The Wrong Side Of The Bed

    Someone who is having a horrible day.

  • Get Your Walking Papers

    Get fired from a job.

  • Give Him The Slip

    To get away from. To escape.

  • Go Down Like A Lead Balloon

    To be received badly by an audience.

  • Go For Broke

    To gamble everything you have.

  • Go Out On A Limb

    Put yourself in a tough position in order to support someone/something.

  • Go The Extra Mile

    Going above and beyond whatever is required for the task at hand.

  • Good Samaritan

    Someone who helps others when they are in need, with no discussion for compensation, and no thought of a reward.

  • Graveyard Shift

    Working hours from about 1200 am to 800 am. The time of the day when most other people are sleeping.

  • Great Minds Think Alike

    Intelligent people think like each other.

  • Green Room

    The waiting room, especially for those who are about to go on a tv or radio show.

  • Gut Feeling

    A personal intuition you get, especially when feel something may not be right.

  • Haste Makes Waste

    Quickly doing things results in a poor ending.

  • Hat Trick

    When one player scores three goals in the same hockey game. This idiom can also mean three scores in any other sport, such as 3 homeruns, 3 touchdowns, 3 soccer goals, etc.

  • Have an Axe to Grind

    To have a dispute with someone.

  • He Lost His Head

    Angry and overcome by emotions.

  • Head Over Heels

    Very excited and/or joyful, especially when in love.

  • Hell in a Handbasket

    Deteriorating and headed for complete disaster.

  • High Five

    Slapping palms above each others heads as celebration gesture.

  • High on the Hog

    Living in Luxury.

  • Hit The Books

    To study, especially for a test or exam.

  • Hit The Hay

    Go to bed or go to sleep.

  • Hit The Nail on the Head

    Do something exactly right or say something exactly right.

  • Hit The Sack

    Go to bed or go to sleep.

  • Hocus Pocus

    In general, a term used in magic or trickery.

  • Hold Your Horses

    Be patient.

  • Icing On The Cake

    When you already have it good and get something on top of what you already have.

  • Idle Hands Are The Devil's Tools

    You are more likely to get in trouble if you have nothing to do.

  • If It's Not One Thing, It's Another

    When one thing goes wrong, then another, and another...

  • In Like Flynn

    To be easily successful, especially when sexual or romantic.

  • In The Bag

    To have something secured.

  • In The Buff


  • In The Heat Of The Moment

    Overwhelmed by what is happening in the moment.

  • In Your Face

    An aggressive and bold confrontation.

  • It Takes Two To Tango

    A two person conflict where both people are at fault.

  • It's A Small World

    You frequently see the same people in different places.

  • Its Anyone's Call

    A competition where the outcome is difficult to judge or predict.

  • Ivy League

    Since 1954 the Ivy League has been the following universities Columbia, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Yale, Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Harvard.

  • Jaywalk

    Crossing the street (from the middle) without using the crosswalk.

  • Joshing Me

    Tricking me.

  • Keep An Eye On Him

    You should carefully watch him.

  • Keep body and soul together

    To earn a sufficient amount of money in order to keep yourself alive .

  • Keep your chin up

    To remain joyful in a tough situation.

  • Kick The Bucket


  • Kitty-corner

    Diagonally across. Sometimes called Catty-Corner as well.

  • Knee Jerk Reaction

    A quick and automatic response.

  • Knock On Wood

    Knuckle tapping on wood in order to avoid some bad luck.

  • Know the Ropes

    To understand the details.

  • Last but not least

    An introduction phrase to let the audience know that the last person mentioned is no less important than those introduced before him/her.

  • Lend Me Your Ear

    To politely ask for someone's full attention.

  • Let Bygones Be Bygones

    To forget about a disagreement or arguement.

  • Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

    To avoid restarting a conflict.

  • Let The Cat Out Of The Bag

    To share a secret that wasn't suppose to be shared.

  • Level playing field

    A fair competition where no side has an advantage.

  • Like a chicken with its head cut off

    To act in a frenzied manner.

  • liquor someone up

    To get someone drunk.

  • Long in the Tooth

    Old people (or horses).

  • Loose Cannon

    Someone who is unpredictable and can cause damage if not kept in check.

  • Make No Bones About

    To state a fact so there are no doubts or objections.

  • Method To My Madness

    Strange or crazy actions that appear meaningless but in the end are done for a good reason.

  • Mumbo Jumbo

    Nonsense or meaningless speech.

  • Mum's the word

    To keep quiet. To say nothing.

  • Nest Egg

    Savings set aside for future use.

  • Never Bite The Hand That Feeds You

    Don't hurt anyone that helps you.

  • New kid on the block

    Someone new to the group or area.

  • New York Minute

    A minute that seems to go by quickly, especially in a fast paced environment.

  • No Dice

    To not agree. To not accept a proposition.

  • No Room to Swing a Cat

    An unsually small or confined space.

  • Not Playing With a Full Deck

    Someone who lacks intelligence.

  • Off On The Wrong Foot

    Getting a bad start on a relationship or task.

  • Off The Hook

    No longer have to deal with a tough situation.

  • Off the Record

    Something said in confidence that the one speaking doesn't want attributed to him/her.

  • On Pins And Needles

    Anxious or nervous, especially in anticipation of something.

  • On The Fence


  • On The Same Page

    When multiple people all agree on the same thing.

  • Out Of The Blue

    Something that suddenly and unexpectedly occurs.

  • Out On A Limb

    When someone puts themself in a risky situation.

  • Out On The Town

    To enjoy yourself by going out.

  • Over My Dead Body

    When you absolutely will not allow something to happen.

  • Over the Top

    Very excessive.

  • Pass The Buck

    Avoid responsibility by giving it to someone else.

  • Pedal to the metal

    To go full speed, especially while driving a vehicle.

  • Peeping Tom

    Someone who observes people in the nude or sexually active people, mainly for his own gratification.

  • Pick up your ears

    To listen very carefully.

  • Pig In A Poke

    A deal that is made without first examining it.

  • Pig Out

    To eat alot and eat it quickly.

  • Pipe Down

    To shut-up or be quiet.

  • Practice Makes Perfect

    By constantly practicing, you will become better.

  • Pull the plug

    To stop something. To bring something to an end.

  • Pulling Your Leg

    Tricking someone as a joke.

  • Put a sock in it

    To tell noisy person or a group to be quiet.

  • Queer the pitch

    Destroy or ruin a plan.

  • Raincheck

    An offer or deal that is declined right now but willing to accept later.

  • Raining Cats and Dogs

    A very loud and noisy rain storm.

  • Ring Fencing

    Seperated usual judgement to guarantee protection, especially project funds.

  • Rise and Shine

    Time to get out of bed and get ready for work/school.

  • Rome Was Not Built In One Day

    If you want something to be completely properly, then its going to take time.

  • Rule Of Thumb

    A rough estimate.

  • Run out of steam

    To be completely out of energy.

  • Saved By The Bell

    Saved at the last possible moment.

  • Scapegoat

    Someone else who takes the blame.

  • Scot-free

    To escape and not have to pay.

  • Sick As A Dog

    To be very sick (with the flu or a cold).

  • Sitting Shotgun

    Riding in the front passenger seat of a car.

  • Sixth Sense

    A paranormal sense that allows you to communicate with the dead.

  • Skid Row

    The rundown area of a city where the homeless and drug users live.

  • Smell A Rat

    To detect somone in the group is betraying the others.

  • Smell Something Fishy

    Detecting that something isn't right and there might be a reason for it.

  • Son of a Gun

    A scamp.

  • Southpaw

    Someone who is left-handed.

  • Spitting Image

    The exact likeness or kind.

  • Start From Scratch

    To do it all over again from the beginning.

  • The Ball Is In Your Court

    It is your decision this time.

  • The Best Of Both Worlds

    There are two choices and you have them both.

  • The Bigger They Are The Harder They Fall

    While the bigger and stronger opponent might be alot more difficult to beat, when you do they suffer a much bigger loss.

  • The Last Straw

    When one small burden after another creates an unbearable situation, the last straw is the last small burden that one can take.

  • The Whole Nine Yards

    Everything. All of it.

  • Third times a charm

    After no success the first two times, the third try is a lucky one.

  • Tie the knot

    To get married.

  • Til the cows come home

    A long time.

  • To Make A Long Story Short

    Something someone would say during a long and boring story in order to keep his/her audience from losing attention. Usually the story isn't shortened.

  • To Steal Someone's Thunder

    To take the credit for something someone else did.

  • Tongue-in-cheek

    humor, not to be taken serious.

  • Turn A Blind Eye

    Refuse to acknowledge something you know is real or legit.

  • Twenty three skidoo

    To be turned away.

  • Under the weather

    Feeling ill or sick.

  • Up a blind alley

    Going down a course of action that leads to a bad outcome.

  • Use Your Loaf

    Use your head. Think smart.

  • Van Gogh's ear for music

    Tone deaf.

  • Variety Is The Spice Of Life

    The more experiences you try the more exciting life can be.

  • Wag the Dog

    A diversion away from something of greater importance.

  • Water Under The Bridge

    Anything from the past that isn't significant or important anymore.

  • Wear Your Heart On Your Sleeve

    To openly and freely express your emotions.

  • When It Rains, It Pours

    Since it rarely rains, when it does it will be a huge storm.

  • When Pigs Fly

    Something that will never ever happen.

  • Wild and Woolly

    Uncultured and without laws.

  • Wine and Dine

    When somebody is treated to an expensive meal.

  • Without A Doubt

    For certain.

  • X marks the spot

    A phrase that is said when someone finds something he/she has been looking for.

  • You Are What You Eat

    In order to stay healthy you must eat healthy foods.

  • You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover

    Decisions shouldn't be made primarily on appearance.

  • You Can't Take it With You

    Enjoy what you have and not what you don't have, since when you die you cannot take things (such as money) with you.

  • Your Guess Is As Good As Mine

    I have no idea.

  • Zero Tolerance

    No crime or law breaking big or small will be overlooked.